Local & Regional

School Closings for the New Week

Apr 8, 2018
File Photo

Click for the list of the latest area schools that have closed for the teacher walkout.

The Oklahoma City Thunder adopted a simple mantra for Saturday's game against the Houston Rockets with their playoff fate still up in the air.

"We just better not lose," Paul George said.

For one night at least, it worked.

George and Russell Westbrook each scored 24 points, and Oklahoma City snapped Houston's 20-game home winning streak with a 108-102 victory.

The Thunder were down one with about seven minutes left before scoring the next 11 points.

OEA

Oklahoma teachers plan to continue massive demonstrations at the state Capitol to keep the pressure on lawmakers to find more money for public education.

Classes were canceled at some of the state's largest school districts last week and will remain closed Monday as thousands of educators, students and their supporters keep up the protest.

Educators in Oklahoma — among the lowest-paid in the nation — have joined a rebellion in several Republican-led states. A strike by West Virginia teachers inspired the movement, which also spread to Kentucky and Arizona.

Strong Saturday Shaker near Perry

Apr 7, 2018
USGS

A strong 4.6 magnitude earthquake rolls residents of North Central Oklahoma out of bed on Saturday. The quake was centered near Perry. The quake happened at 7:16 this morning and was felt over a wide area of Oklahoma and Kansas. It was felt, by some, in Tulsa.

The quake was about three miles deep according to the USGS. There have been no reports of injuries. Officials are checking on damage.

April Snow? Yep! April Snow.

Apr 7, 2018
KWGS News

Areas of light snow will continue this morning across northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas along and north of U.S. Highway 412, with a mix of sleet and snow developing during the morning farther south. Precipitation will eventually transition to a winter mix across far southeast Oklahoma later this morning before ending by Noon. Some light snow accumulations of up to a half inch are possible locally, with any ice accumulation expected to remain very light. With temperatures falling into the 20s, some slick roads are possible in areas where precipitation is heaviest.

KWGS News photo

A judge will hear testimonies after an internal police report found that an Oklahoma detective "grossly mishandled" evidence while investigating a quintuple death case.

Former Broken Arrow Police Detective Gayla Adcock resigned this year during an investigation over her actions when a hard drive with potentially significant evidence was lost on her watch.

State of Oklahoma

Embattled Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt met with President Donald Trump on Friday to lay out his case for why he should remain in his post amid a stream of questions about his ethical standing.

OEA

Oklahoma lawmakers approved an additional $40 million for public schools Friday, but the head of the state's largest teacher's union said it was going to take more than that to end a walkout that has led to five straight days of school closures.

Two bills approved by the state Senate — one taxing certain internet sales and another expanding tribal gambling — will be sent to Gov. Mary Fallin, who will decide whether to sign the revenue-raising plans into law.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Oklahoma U.S. Sen. James Lankford said he is still working on a resolution for 800,000 undocumented immigrants covered by the policy known as DACA.

Lankford said the Senate was hearing legislation earlier this year to give them a pathway to citizenship before President Trump ended the Obama-era program, subjecting them to deportation, but those bills fell victim to timing.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Oklahoma Education Association said Friday afternoon the teacher walkout is not ending yet.

OEA President Alicia Priest called on Gov. Mary Fallin to veto the bill repealing a $5 hotel/motel tax and on the House to take up and pass a measure ending the capital gains tax break.

"And those things will allow for the walkout to end," Priest said.

Republican leaders have said the capital gains deduction is off the table as part of their caucus’ deal to pass last week’s revenue package, which included a gross production tax increase.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

In a rare Friday session promised to be "an important day," the Oklahoma Senate passed three bills affecting revenue that are on the watchlist of education funding advocates.

The Senate debated House Bill 1019XX for nearly three hours after Sen. Josh Brecheen proposed two amendments to change the bill so it would cap or end refunds of wind tax credits.

Majority Leader Greg Treat said the House would reject either change.

EPA

 

President Donald Trump is praising Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Scott Pruitt as "a good man" who has done "a terrific job" but says he's looking into a series of critical stories that suggests Pruitt may have abused his power.

Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday that Pruitt has done "an incredible job. He's been very courageous."

But Trump also says that he'll "take a look at" the reports and "make that determination."

File photo

 

The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded two earthquakes in northwestern Oklahoma, the largest with a preliminary magnitude of 3.7.

The USGS reports the larger quake struck at 10:07 a.m. Friday near Covington, two minutes after a magnitude 3.1 quake was recorded in the same area about 56 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.

An emergency management official has not returned a phone call seeking comment, but geologists say damage is not likely in quakes below magnitude 4.0.

OKC Zoo

 

The Oklahoma City Zoo says an 18-year-old African lioness that mysteriously sprouted a mane last year has died.

The zoo says the lioness, named Bridget, was euthanized Wednesday after a veterinary team determined she was likely suffering from heart failure or infection. The zoo says Bridget had been lethargic, not eating and appeared to be in pain.

Last month, the zoo said Bridget appeared to be in good health after lab results explained why she had grown a mane, which is usually only seen on male lions.

Google Street View

 

A watchdog group is suing the Environmental Protection Agency seeking the release of records involving an investigative audit into the cleanup of the Tar Creek Superfund site in northeastern Oklahoma that the state's attorney general wants to keep secret.

The Campaign for Accountability filed the federal lawsuit Thursday in Washington. The group says EPA administrator Scott Pruitt tried to cover up a report suggesting criminal wrongdoing while he was Oklahoma's attorney general.

OEA

 

A teachers strike in Oklahoma stretched into a fifth day on Friday, and a state union leader said he doesn't think pending proposals to increase revenue are enough to stop the walkout from extending into next week.

The Senate was expected to consider separate proposals Friday to expand tribal gambling and tax certain internet sales that are expected to generate roughly $40 million annually.

But Oklahoma Education Association Executive Director David Duvall says he doesn't think those are enough to keep teachers from walking out again next week.

In the local news:

  • Teacher Walkout Day #5.
  • Measles reported in Tulsa for the first time since the '90s.
  • Brace yourself--- and your garden  ---for some bitter cold weather.

Community Service Council

A new report measures equality in Tulsa on a 100-point scale.

There’s an overall score and individual scores for indicators of economic opportunity, education, housing, justice, public health and services.

"The numbers are very bad," said Mayor G.T. Bynum. "We’ve known for a long time in Tulsa that we had a serious issue with, in particular, racial disparity in our city. People felt that in their gut, but they didn’t necessarily have a way to measure it. And the reality is that we have a long way to go."

Oklahoma Watch

Ending the state capital gains tax break is indeed off the table in the Oklahoma House.

Ending the state capital gains income tax deduction could bring in $120.5 million and has been a big piece of the Oklahoma Education Association's demand for increased public school funding. Despite Democrats trying to force a vote this week on the bill doing that as teachers looked on, the legislature is done with it because Republicans struck a deal to pass a more than $400 million revenue package last week.

OSHD

Someone returning to Tulsa recently from an international trip contracted measles…and the City-County Health Department is alerting people of possible exposure. Leanne Stephens with the Health Department says measles is very contagious, and can linger for as long as a couple of hours after the carrier has left the area.

The Health Department has all the pertinent information about where and when possible exposures may have occurred. Anyone concerned or with questions may call the Department’s measles hotline at 918-595-4500.

Measles Reported in Tulsa County

Apr 5, 2018
OSHD

 

 

The Tulsa Health Department is currently investigating a case of measles in Tulsa County. 

 

Serge Melki

 

Oklahoma lawmakers will convene rare Friday sessions as protesting school teachers continue to fill the state Capitol and demand more funding for public education.

Republican leaders of the state House and Senate said Thursday they will meet Friday to consider legislation to raise more money. Lawmakers traditionally don't meet on Fridays during legislative sessions.

File photo

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld the murder and kidnapping convictions and life sentence of a Tulsa man in the death of a Talala man.

The court on Thursday rejected appeals by 30-year-old Vernon Leemountel Smith, who was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. The appeals included insufficient evidence, improper hearsay testimony, prosecutorial misconduct and that the jury should have been instructed to consider lesser offenses, such as second-degree murder.

Oklahoma Historical Society

 

A second Oklahoma tribe is suing manufacturers and distributors of opioids, and large pharmacies for their alleged part in an overdose epidemic.

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation filed their lawsuit in U.S. District Court for Oklahoma's northern district on Tuesday. The lawsuit alleges the companies engage in marketing campaigns that aren't truthful about the risks of using opioids. It alleges that the defendants' misconduct "has led to an epidemic of prescription drug abuse."

ICOC

 

 An Oklahoma City man has been arrested and charged with threatening to blow up a mosque.

Online court records show that 54-year-old Larry Dewayne Hornsby was charged Tuesday with making the threat on March 24 at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City.

Court records don't list an attorney for Hornsby. Jail records show he remains in custody on $20,000 bond.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations' state chapter says Hornsby entered the mosque, threatened to "blow up this building" and left. It says he was identified through surveillance footage.

C-SPAN

 

 The White House says President Donald Trump is not OK with recent revelations involving embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.

The statement from spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders came as Pruitt spoke in a series of interviews with Fox News and other conservative media, attempting to shore up his eroding position.

Pruitt is denying he knew about big raises given to two of his closest aides while insisting he did nothing wrong in renting a bargain-priced condo tied to an energy lobbyist.

Walkout Day #4

Apr 5, 2018
OEA

Some say teachers in Oklahoma risk losing public support the longer their walkout goes.

The protests, and some school closures, will continue for a fourth straight day Thursday amid a movement in red states from West Virginia to Kentucky to Arizona to press for more money in classrooms.

Oklahoma Republicans passed a tax hike for hundreds of millions of new dollars for public schools and teacher pay raises. But educators marched on the Capitol anyway, bringing with them pent-up frustration after years of budget cuts, swelling class sizes and a decade without a raise.

In the local news:

  • Education supporters march from Tulsa to the state capitol.
  • Iron Gate signs a lease for a new location.
  • The family of Terence Crutcher sues the city for wrongful death.

Public Radio Tulsa is being honored again this year by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters. Later this month, the OAB will present KWGS with two of its “Outstanding Achievement in Broadcasting Awards”.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Terence Crutcher’s parents are suing the City of Tulsa for their son’s death in a September 2016 police shooting.

Crutcher was shot and killed by former Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby. He was unarmed.

Shelby was acquitted of manslaughter in a subsequent trial. Crutcher’s mother, Leanna, said that doesn’t change what happened.  

"My son was killed, regardless of the outcome. Everyone saw the video. I will never get over that, so don’t tell me to get over it," Leanna Crutcher said.

Pages